Black Friday is notorious the world over for creating an environment in which strangers throttle each other in the wee hours of the morning to score deals on expensive products, just after they spent an entire day giving thanks for the stuff they already had. We’ve seen a major backlash against the philosophy behind Black Friday this year, and the consequences are that companies are shuttering their doors on Black Friday to appear magnanimous and principled in the eyes of the consumer.
This may be a very good thing, especially since experts predict that this year, half of holiday shopping will be done online, with comparable deals being held earlier in week, starting as early as the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Why foster such a violent environment, pay workers and make them come in hours after they began a rolling turkey coma, and risk lawsuits (or homicides) just to make a buck?
And then there’s the more terrifying trend of conducting Black Friday-esque deals on Thanksgiving Day itself, forcing employees to sacrifice what should be a relaxing holiday spent with loved ones giving thanks, and not trying to pry apart shoppers fighting for the same flatscreen TV.
These companies are saying no to opening on Thanksgiving, and some are saying no to opening on Black Friday as well.
The big chain stores that are closing on Thanksgiving include:
- American Girl
- Sierra Trading Post
- Barnes & Noble
- Pier 1 Imports
- Sam’s Club
- The Home Depot
- Home Depot
- Crate and Barrel
- Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts
- TJ Maxx
- Burlington Coat Factory
Of the 26 stores mentioned above, only one is committed to closing on Black Friday. I don’t begrudge anyone a deal, but the environment that Black Friday fosters is unhealthy at best.
The President and CEO Jerry Stritzke of REI issued a statement about its unlikely decision to remain closed on the busiest shopping day of the year, saying:
REI is closing on Black Friday.
You read that correctly. On November 27, we’ll be closing all 143 of our stores and paying our employees to head outside.
Here’s why we’re doing it.
For 76 years, our co-op has been dedicated to one thing and one thing only: a life outdoors. We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth.
We’re a different kind of company—and while the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we’ll be spending our day a little differently. We’re choosing to opt outside, and want you to come with us.
The outdoor sporting goods retailer also created a hashtag called #OptOutside, to drive home their commitment to opt out of Black Friday mania, and to encourage people to spend more time with nature, and with loved ones. Hard to argue with such logic.
And even though it’s not logical to hope other stores may follow this trend and at the very least, push their opening times to when the sun rises, with so much shopping happening online, it may be in everyone’s best interest, shopper and employee, to just stay home and let the stores stay closed until morning.